Interviews

Published on August 6th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford

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Jamel Herring Set for His First Title Defense Against, Lamont Roach on November 9Th

U.S. Marine, U.S. Olympian and world-champion boxer are some of the titles held by, WBO junior lightweight champion, Jamel Herring.

Jamel Herring currently holds the WBO junior lightweight title. Herring not only represented the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London, but he was also an active and proud member of the United States Marine Corp during that same period of time. Herring served as a team captain on that Olympic Team. After finishing out his time with the Corp, Herring turned professional and made his pro debut on December 8, 2012. He would win his first 15-pro fights before losing to, Denis Shafikov in 2016. He would only have one more setback before changing promoters and trainers and becoming a world-champion after defeating, Masayuki Ito by unanimous decision in May. Herring now, 20-2 with 10-wins coming by way of knockout is set to defend his world title for the first time when he faces the undefeated, Lamont Roach (19-0-1) with 7-knockouts. The fight is scheduled to take place on November 9th. A venue has yet to be selected.

In my recent conversation with, Herring, he opens up about the clash against, Roach and fights that failed to materialize like, Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez.

November 9th is the date, Lamont Roach is the opponent, the venue seems to be in the air still. Do you have a preference?

Jamel Herring: To me it’s whatever, but I understand from the business side of things, being on the A-side is a whole different animal. For promotional reasons they want to do it right where it fits me and my personality and my surroundings; especially with the whole military thing. So, I heard from two military bases or even a homecoming back in Long Island. Hopefully we will get something locked down as soon as possible.

When you see guys like, Errol Spence fight in his hometown, and Shakur Stevenson and Gervonta Davis, is that a feeling you want to experience as well?

Jamel Herring: Oh yeah! At times I do, you want to get that homecoming feeling. Even if it’s against a soft touch, but for me being from New York, I want that big fight to be at the Garden. That’s why I haven’t been stressing or pushing it so much in terms of being home. If I’m going to be in New York, I want to be remembered for having a big fight there.

It seems like you just fought, Ito and you just became a world champion, but November 9th is a long time away. You’re not used to being out of the gym for extended periods of time. Are you getting a little anxiety or just using the down time to chill?

Jamel Herring: I’m getting anxiety. I’m not used to being out of the ring this long, I’m not used to being out of the gym this long. I’m working out here and there just to stay loose and keep the weight down, but in terms of having something to push me while I’m in the gym, I don’t have that because the date is so far away. My team doesn’t want me to go full steam ahead where I’m starting to over train. I’m just playing the waiting game and playing it cool.

Do you know, Lamont Roach on a personal level?

Jamel Herring: I actually do know, Lamont. Actually, I’ve known, Lamont since I was in the Marine Corp. Lamont was still about 12 or 13-years old. That’s how long I’ve known him and how far back it goes. It’s funny because he turned pro when I was training out in D.C. with “The Headbangers” and Barry Hunter. He used to come down and spar. So, I do know him on a personal level, but this fight is just business. It’s a mandatory. I have nothing against him and nothing bad to say about him. It’s every fighter’s dream to have the opportunity to fight for a world-title, so when the opportunity comes up, you gotta take it. There is nothing negative or anything between me and Lamont, but at the end of the day, I worked so hard to get this title that I’m not just going to let it just go away that easily.

What do you think of his skillset and what he brings to the table?

Jamel Herring: I can’t point anything out that he does special. I know he has the amateur pedigree and things like that. It’s one of those fights where you gotta really be careful because you don’t want to sleep on a kid like that. I’ve been there in my last fight. When you are about to fight for your first world-title, you really are in a different mindset in the gym. You come out there and you put on a performance that people may not have seen before when you were moving up the ranks. I’m not going to sit there and say, “He’s one of the best out there. He’s dangerous.” But at the same time, they were all sleeping on, Julian Williams when he was going into the, Hurd fight, ya know. They thought Julian was done because of this performance or that performance. So, I gotta really take this fight more serious than even the, Ito fight because I don’t want to be on the wrong side of an upset. I’m just so confident in my ability that when I look at myself, I think, there is nothing he can do to throw me off my game, but at the same time, I’m not going to give him that chance to try and get the upper hand on me. They trying to gas me up now like this is an easy defense. I can’t think like that. I would be a fool to think like that. I’m not looking at any of his past fights because when you get that world-title opportunity, you may just be looking at a whole different animal.

Several fighters have told me, winning a world-title is one thing, defending it makes you a world-champion. Is that your mentality heading into your first title defense?

Jamel Herring: Oh, hell yeah! I don’t want people to look at me as the guy who had a good story and he won a belt. I’m not satisfied. It’s like, yeah, I got the belt, but now I want to be remembered as a great champion. A champion that fought everybody and in order to do that I gotta continue to rack up these wins. I’m not slacking or losing my vision of what’s important or in front of me. If anything, I have to make a huge statement with this fight. If I don’t, it’s going to give guys more of a reason not to fight me. I know you have seen in the past few weeks what I’ve been going through trying to get, [Miguel] Berchelt in the ring. I gotta start building that resume in terms of getting those bigger fights that will make the fans want to see those fight to where they start calling for it. You do need fans perspective at times in order to get those fights. Fans can help put pressure on those fighters to get them in the ring with you.

The Berchelt situation was crazy. He seemed prepared to unify with, Ito and then you upset the applecart and then he said he didn’t want to fight you because the fight wasn’t worth anything yet. Have you pushed past that situation or is it still a frustrating situation for you?

Jamel Herring: It’s a mix of both. I was more on the frustrated side because you know what I’ve been through to get the belt. So, even when I got the belt and Berchelt came in the ring and all that stuff, you know from the fans side they felt I couldn’t win that fight. So, when he did this… I mean they didn’t give me much of a chance to beat, Ito. I felt frustrated because the fans were saying they didn’t think I would take a fight with, Berchelt because he’s tough and Ito is one thing, but Berchelt’s another. I was like, whatever. I’m taking the fight. You know me, I’m not backing down from nobody. So, once I committed to the fight on my end, that’s when things started getting funny on their end. I truly believe in my heart what it is, his team didn’t think I was going to beat, Ito. Let’s be honest. They didn’t think I was going to beat, Ito. Once they seen the style I used to beat, Ito, it didn’t mix and match well with their style. That’s when all the boxing politics and excuses started coming out, man.

The 130-pound division looks difficult enough to unify because of the different promotional associations, but when fights like, Herring-Berchelt can’t be made and you guys are under the same umbrella, it really makes unifying look difficult.

Jamel Herring: A lot of fans were thinking for the longest that this fight at least was the easiest to get made and get a unification. But when you see him making these excuses that the fight isn’t interesting now. Then he said, he was never offered the fight. We are under the same umbrella; we work for the same network and the same promoter. What are you getting that I’m not getting?  I actually called up, Top Rank myself and I asked them… this actually happened the night of the, Hooker-Ramirez fight; so, it was recently. I hit them up and was like, “I just needed some clarification of what’s going on.” And they were like, “Look, Jamel, I’m not going to lie to you, they don’t want the fight. I’m not going to say that he said that, but his team never called us back saying make the fight.” Once I got that I left it alone. It’s to the point where, I probably have an easier chance of fighting my boy, Tevin Farmer than I do fighting people under my own umbrella. You see, Top Rank did the Ramirez-Hooker fight with DAZN. So, I know it wouldn’t be hard to unify with, Tevin. Today’s boxing, it’s difficult to get those fights.

I called out fucking, Andrew Cancion and it was dead quiet. It’s funny to me because after, Tevin’s fight, I see, Andrew Cancion on Twitter calling out, Tevin and JoJo Diaz. No one wants to say they want to fight me. I went from a guy that no one wanted to acknowledge to being the guy who no one wants to put my name in the same sentence. You know me, I’m honest with myself. I never said I was the boogeyman, but I just feel like at the end of the day, if you really look at boxing, styles make fights and if you look at my style, it just doesn’t go well with guys at the top.

ESPN did a great piece on you and your trials and tribulations leading up to the, Ito fight. You were invited to the ESPY’s as well. Over the last few months a new world has opened up to you. What has that been like?

Jamel Herring: For me, I was more satisfied basically getting that credit that I felt I deserved for a long time. That was my big thing. I’m just happy to be recognized and noticed now instead of being that name that was just associated with the Olympic team. Guys are doing their thing, so it was like, “He was teammates with, Errol… he trains with, “Bud” Crawford.” Now, I’m just happy to get the recognition that I felt that I deserved. Other than that, I’m still the same person. People are now giving me the credit that I’ve been striving for, for the longest.

Before I let you go, what are your thoughts on, Oscar Valdez vacating his title and moving up to 130-pounds?

Jamel Herring: You’ve been around these sanctioning bodies as long as I have, and you know how they work. So, the WBO, when you have a title at a lower weight class, you almost automatically are basically looked at as the mandatory at the upper weight class. We watched, Lomachenko do it from 26 to 30 with the WBO. We saw, Terence Crawford do it from 40 to 47 with the, Horn fight. I was already hearing the rumors after I beat, Ito. The day before, Andy Ruiz upset, Joshua. Carl Moretti and everybody was in New York too. We heard that he was thinking about moving up. I don’t fall asleep on nobody. I’m keeping my guard up because I’m thinking, if he moves up, he’s going to come directly into title shot against me because he has that right. Same thing, bro. My team actually called for it. We were like, if he wants the fight, let’s make the fight happen. But from a close partner to his camp came to my team and said that they were going to bypass on that. And now you hear all of this talk about him and Berchelt. It’s crazy. I’m not saying I’m this fighter when I name him, but I feel like, Winky Wright when he was going through his problems. Nobody wanted to deal with, Winky Wright and now I feel like I’m going through that same thing. I’m hoping that once he does fight, Berchelt, I hope he actually takes the title from him because I feel like, Valdez’s pride won’t let him not fight me.

 



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